If you follow me (@ORhapsode) or have worked with me, you will know that I am generally vexed by the fact that artists and creatives are generally the last to get paid. And I'm not the only one! It is a hot topic. Read someone else's take on it here.
In response to a tweet about Balstock, I thought I'd bring up the issue. And unsurprisingly, the organisers (I think they're the organisers) are a bit cheesed off. I know more than anyone how unpleasant it is to be criticised when you are working incredibly hard for something you are passionate about - and I know that even more now as they were pretty merciless in giving me back a hefty taste of my own medicine!
It was the wrong organisation to raise the issue with. Balstock is a not-for-profit festival that this year is raising money for the MS Trust, something that is extremely close to my heart. I've got a beloved family member with MS and we ourselves are doing a fundraiser for MS on Friday. In the case of Balstock, I'm sure all the musicians who are playing are happily doing so for free as they want to support a great cause. So sorry @howardbez, @Bezzs_mate and @Balstock. You carry on doing what you're doing. And everyone else - go! It looks great and the venerable Mr Speaker is playing too.
However, I am not sorry that the issue has raised its head. It is a fraught area - anything to do with money always is. But I do find it deeply troubling that: we pay for leaflet printing; we pay bar staff; we pay the builder; we pay the electrician; but we don't pay for the artists to perform, paint, design, write etc. This is exactly why I cancelled part of Our Big Gig recently - our budget was cut and rather than expect the performers to just carry on for free (which the electrician wouldn't have done!) I took out sections of the event. And it is exactly why I really try and find funds to pay the skilled arts professionals that work for Rhapsode on events. It often may not be much but it is something that is integral to our organisation. To raise the money, we have to be a bit entrepreneurial about it (which is why we recently became a Community Interest Company) but let me reassure you, we all work bloody hard to make the numbers add up.
So sorry and not sorry. And Happy Bank Holiday everyone. I'll be working mostly (and mostly for free sigh sigh.)
POSTSCRIPT: 3 things to always remember about social media (this is me reminding myself too!!)
1. Put on a thick skin.
2. Mind what you say.
3. Play nicely.